There is a spell in mediaeval Art which has had power to bewitch some people into trying, or wishing to try, or fancying that they wish to try or making believe to fancy that they wish to try, to bring back the Middle Ages.
As to London we must console ourselves with the thought that if life outside is less poetic than it was in the days of old, inwardly its poetry is much deeper.
If it were a real effort to live in the Middle Ages, your life would be one perpetual prevarication.
Art is expression, and to have high expression you must have something high to express.
Rome was great in arms, in government, in law.
The novelist must ground his work in faithful study of human nature.
The Romans, we are told, were by nature a peculiarly warlike race.
It is evident that in the period designated as that of the kings, when Rome commenced her career of conquest, she was, for that time and country, a great and wealthy city.
It is needless to say how great has been the influence of the doctrine of Evolution, or rather perhaps of the method of investigation to which it has given birth, upon the study of history, especially the history of institutions.
No student of history can fail to see the moral interest of the Middle Ages, any more than an artist can fail to see their aesthetic interest.
Who can doubt that between the English and the French, between the Scotch and the Irish, there are differences of character which have profoundly affected and still affect the course of history?
But if anyone supposes that there was no commercial fraud in the Middle Ages, let him study the commercial legislation of England for that period, and his mind will be satisfied, if he has a mind to be satisfied and not only a fancy to run away with him.
Yet for my part, deeply as I am moved by the religious architecture of the Middle Ages, I cannot honestly say that I ever felt the slightest emotion in any modern Gothic church.
The insular arrogance of the English character is a commonplace joke.
Every one who has a heart, however ignorant of architecture he may be, feels the transcendent beauty and poetry of the mediaeval churches.
There are the manufacturing multitudes of England; they must have work, and find markets for their work; if machines and the Black Country are ugly, famine would be uglier still.
We must also be permitted to bear in mind that evolution, though it may explain everything else, cannot explain itself.
The Roman legions were formed in the first instance of citizen soldiers, who yet had been made to submit to a rigid discipline, and to feel that in that submission lay their strength.
Never had there been such an attempt to make conquest the servant of civilization. About keeping India there is no question. England has a real duty there.
Above all nations is humanity.
Dante himself is open to the suspicion of partiality: it is said, not without apparent ground, that he puts into hell all the enemies of the political cause, which, in his eyes, was that of Italy and God.